A basic background
Jewels are widely used as personal blazonry to enhance one's beauty. Jewellery has been used for the past thousands of years in different forms with the oldest dating back to a hundred thousand years in the form of beads made from Nassarius shells. There are various types of accessories made from a wide range of resources and materials differing from one another due to various cultures. It can be used to adorn almost all body parts and not only that it is also used to beautify different objects as well such as churches and other religious spaces. Ornaments can be made from various materials including but not limited to platinum, gold, silver, glass, enamel, wood, bone, ivory, clay, copper, steel, lead and numerous gemstones.
Uses of Jewellery
Accessories can be used to bind or enhance clothing and so it has both a showy and functional aspect to it. People also use it to pin or fix their hair in different styles and make it look stylish and glamorous. Regalia is also a definitive show of social status and standing. It is also used to convey personal affections and is a sign of commitment in the form of a wedding ring in most cultures. In addition to that, many families give out these precious ornaments in the form of dowry during the wedding. It is also used as a substitute to usual currency as many people use these precious metals to store or display their wealth. Some ornaments are even used by people to associate themselves with a specific religion such as Christianity or Hinduism or to a particular ethnicity or social group. Accessories are also a form of an artistic display of oneself and usually reflects people's personality whether they are bold and confident, delicate or sensitive, etc. The uses of Jewellery have been benefiting the jewelers which have increased their profits from time to time.
The early History of Jewellery
Accessories and regalia started to be worn initially by Neanderthals around 115,000 years ago in Spain and they made accessories out of perforated beads. Later, this trend was caught on in Africa and again they made beads but instead, used different materials like ostrich eggshells. During the same era, Russia was also making accessories but they used stones and marbles to make bracelets and rings. Further along the timeline, more resources were used to make accessories like bone, teeth and even mother of pearl pieces were discovered in Europe dating back to 11,000 BC. Russians also used mammoth tusks as decorative accessories and were specifically carved to look similar to pendants.
Copper ornaments were made around 7,000 years ago and they were made by women jewelers which is quite unusual considering at that time it was considered to be a male-dominated profession. A couple of thousand years later, accessories found their way into Egypt and because Egyptians tended to live luxurious lifestyles, they used to gold as a material for their ornaments. It was worn to display their political and religious standing in the society. Apart from gold ornaments, Egyptians also used colored glass and semi-precious gemstones to make different accessories. The color of the ornaments adorned held a lot of significance in their society and due to this, there was frequent trade between the Middle East and Europe.
Gold and Gemstones:
The Greeks used gold and gemstones in their accessories since 1600 BC but they have been making it using other materials since 7th century BC. Jewellery was worn mostly for ceremonies and public appearances and was also given in the form of gifts. Usually, women wore Jewellery to display their power, status and wealth within the society but it also held religious symbolism and were dedicated to their gods. The Greek designs were mainly influenced by Asia and the Roman Empire. From then on, accessories have been a strong part of the culture in almost the whole world including the Indian subcontinent, North and South America, Native America as well as the Pacific region.
Modern Jewellery: Major changes in the market
Currently, the Jewel industry is still dominated by varying degrees of traditional styles and designs. However, taking in to account the discovery and invention of new materials and components such as plastic and metal clay coupled with new coloring processes, there has been a solid increase in the variety of designs in accessories. There have also been new advances such as the introduction of improved quality artificial gems and pearl harvesting which has led to an increase in the purchasing power of accessories and so now it had become more widely accessible.
Furthermore, there have been other influences of a rather sub-cultural nature such as hip hop and rap culture which has provided a major boost away from the traditional designs. Technology has played a vital role in scaling businesses and turns to record steep growth in most industries. 3-D printing and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is a major innovation in the accessory production process since it provides a low cost and personalized alternative to premium-priced traditional ornaments. Artificial Intelligence (AI) or augmented reality is a major game-changer that is being used to deliver superior customer experience and meet consumer demand more effectively than ever. This has now made the jewel industry more complex and competitive considering the high investments involved to keep up with the growing technological trends used to made high-end accessories for premium customers. As in today’s generation, we can see how there are major changes to take place and also due to various resources, we can today get artificial Jewellery which is available at a cheaper rate.
Jewellery Industry: Current trends and future expectations
The industry is forecasted to grow at a healthy rate of 5-6% every year and the expected annual global revenue generation is at €250 billion in 2020 as compared to the current year's €148 billion. The increase is due to the internationalization of jewel brands like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier which hold about 12% of the industry share. There are more upcoming brands in Jewellery like Swarovski who is expected to be ranked among one of the top global brands by 2020.
The main reason for the solid growth of this industry is the statements that they allow each individual to make. The beauty, style, and attractiveness offered by each piece hold a unique value that people are prepared to pay for in huge sums of money. Brands like Grace & Peony have managed to provide efficient customer solutions with their unique and wide range of accessories collection. There is also a trend of supporting different causes by international Jewel brands like Tiffany & Co. supporting the "Knot on my planet" campaign to stop the killing of elephants. These brands also have a huge presence on social media and use digital marketing to gain and retain customers. The consistent evolution of the apparel and fashion industry has caused the jewel industry to change and evolve with it by keeping up with the latest trends to survive and prosper.